The Cardinals have now cut down their roster to the required 53 before the start of the 2013 NFL season, with some surprise omissions from the team, including DT David Carter, WRs Kerry Taylor and Charles Hawkins, and S Jonathon Amaya all not making the cut, but there are notable others available out there, with GM Steve Keim admitting that the Cardinals will be 'active' in the waiver wire. Here are some options available:
WR: Robert Meachem.
An overpaid hot free-agent two years ago, snapped up by the San Diego Chargers who then saw very inconsistent production out him and decided to cut him, even though they have one of the more questionable groups or receivers in the entire league. The Cardinals have opted to only carry four WRs going into the season (whether this is the case Week 1 I'm not sure) but it appears as if they are looking for that fifth guy on the roster, which could be Meachem. He has had problems staying healthy, and some drops issues, but he is a talented guy, and is worth bringing in on a try-out basis, should he clear waivers.
TE: Jake Ballard.
Awfully plagued with injuries the past few seasons ultimately saw him cut by both the Giants and the Patriots in recent years, Ballard, a talented tight end when healthy, is available again. Carrying four tight ends at this moment, howver there isn't any reliable target or depth behind Rob Housler. Jim Dray and Kory Sperry have both been shaky at times, and seventh round pick D.C. Jefferson has had an inconsistent preseason. It would be a shock to see the Cardinals not look at a tight end on waivers, especially one of the calibre of Ballard.
TE: D.J. Williams.
Drafted in the fifth round in 2011 by the Green Bay Packers, the former John Mackey Award winner was released during final cuts after failing to make an impact during his two seasons in the league. Coming out in the same year as current Cardinals tight end Rob Housler, Williams was ranked fourth at the position coming out of college, and regarded for having reliable hands and breakaway speed, running a 4.67 at the combine, coupled with great size and athleticism (6'2", 245 coming out) makes for an interesting target. He has the talent, and the ability to run routes well, and could be a great option for Palmer and the vertical offense under Bruce Arians.
TE: Tony Moeaki.
A third round draft choice in 2010 of the Kansas City Chiefs, Tony Moeaki showed flashes of serious potential during his first three seasons in the NFL, but has been plagued by injury virtually the entire time. Placed on IR his sophomore year in the league following a torn ACL, he failed to replicate the success he showed in his rookie season after. Standing at 6'3" 252, he has very good stature for the position and nice speed for a man his size, and could be a nice complement to Housler, especially with Arians favouring two tight end sets. He fractured his shoulder earlier in the preseason, meaning he is unlikely to feature much this season, so it doesn't make much sense to snatch him, but stash him on IR for the year and see what he can produce in preseason, see if he can impress the coaches and make the roster.
OT: Max Starks.
The Cardinals' shaky offensive line are always open to improvements, especially at tackle. Bringing in Eric Winston has drove up competition to start on the right side, strengthening the position, while over on the left side, Levi Brown has been somewhat inconsistent during his time with the Cardinals, raising questions as to whether he can even play left tackle. Starks has played, and enjoyed some success playing left tackle, but is seen as a swing tackle, which could be important on gameday.
OG: Jake Scott.
A talented guard who hasn't been able to stick on a roster the past couple of seasons, most recently released by the Detroit Lions having failed to secure a starting place on the offensive line. With Jonathan Cooper done for the year, Daryn College will be moving back to left guard where he played last season, poorly may I add, opening up a spot at right guard. That spot is currently filled by Paul Fanaika, who has been impressive in preseason, but the roster only has four guards (although, many expect Mike Gibson not to make the team for Week 1), so Scott could come in an be at least a backup, and possibly push Fanaika for a starting role. Someone of his experience and calibre should be considered.
OG: Danny Watkins.
A former first round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, Watkins has failed to really cement his place as a starter on the team, and was deemed expendable by new HC Chip Kelly. Playing mostly at left guard in his career, he could come in and immediately compete for that spot vacated by Cooper as he lands on IR. College is expected to move over to the left side, but many feel he is better suited to playing right guard. The Cardinals released OGs Chilo Rachal and Senio Kelemete, opening up a depth spot on the roster.
OC: Fernando Velasco.
The Tennessee Titans released Velasco yesterday, which surprised many, considering he was a 16 game starter for them last year, and whom they tried to keep as a restricted free agent, having signed a one-year, $2.023 million contract earlier this preseason. The Team has no real depth at centre behind Lyle Sendlein, who isn't really all that great, so Velasco could come in and play backup and even replace Sendlein as a starter going forward. Undrafted in 2008, Velasco can play guard or centre, which is also an attractive quality for the team.
A lot of rookies were cut by teams this weekend, and many are worth a spot on the practice squad, or perhaps worth a look at for the roster, here are a few notable names released this weekend:
OL: Braxton Cave, Cleveland Browns.
TE: Jake Stoneburner, Green Bay Packers.
WR: Cobi Hamilton, Cincinatti Bengals.
TE: Ryan Otten, Jacksonville Jaguars.